Sides were the biggest reminder that, yes, Culver's is still a fast-food joint. Ordinary fries and plain coleslaw were nothing to write home about. Dairyland cheese curds sounded interesting, although the seasoned deep-fried coating overwhelmed the taste of the cheese. I ate them mindlessly, not voraciously. Light, crispy onion rings were a much better option.

Besides the savory stuff, Culver's prides itself on its sweets, from flavorful house root beer to freshly made frozen custard, which can be ordered by the scoop, as a sundae or shake, or as a Concrete Mixer, with dozens of fruit and candy add-ins.

By definition, frozen custard is still ice cream, although it has a minimum of 10 percent butterfat, with considerably less air incorporated into it. Culver's custard was dense and eggy, with a plush, creamy texture. The chocolate flavor reminded me of a richer take on a Wendy's Frosty.

The legend continues: Culver's brings its signature ButterBurger to the Valley, with even more locations in the works.
Jackie Mercandetti
The legend continues: Culver's brings its signature ButterBurger to the Valley, with even more locations in the works.

Location Info

Map

Culver's

1825 W. Deer Valley Road
New River, AZ 85027

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: New River

Culver's

1909 S. Country Club Drive
Mesa, AZ 85210

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Mesa

Details

Jersey Mike's
Roast beef and provolone sub (mini): $5.70
Philly cheese steak (regular): $7.30
480-966-6453, »web link
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Culver's
Single deluxe ButterBurger: $2.39
Two scoops of frozen custard$2.49
480-733-5330, »web link
Hours: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Jersey Mike's Subs, 555 North Scottsdale Road, Ste. 103, Tempe
Culver's, 1909 S. Country Club Dr., Mesa (additional location at 1825 W. Deer Valley Rd., 623-580-4567)

The freshness of the food was the main thing that made Culver's stand out from the fast-food pack, but service and setting were an added bonus. After I ordered at the counter, I got a number and found a table. Instead of vinyl booths and tile floors, the dining room was carpeted, with muted blue fabric upholstery on wooden seats. It was just a touch homey-er than most places, and noticeably less noisy. All the better to overhear friendly, helpful servers delivering food and checking in with each table.

Nope, you don't get that at Mickey D's.

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